900 Dumaine St., 522-7222;

The space long known as the Quarter Scene is now a stylish, bright corner café serving casual dishes. Try eggs Dauphine at brunch or barbecue shrimp at dinner. The menu is full of classic and creative takes on local favorites. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat., breakfast and brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


3400 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 780-2266

The Edge offers a full range of sandwiches, steaks and ribs, bar appetizers for grazing and changing daily lunch specials. Grilled tuna is served over angel hair pasta with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Other popular specials include fried chicken, stuffed peppers and old-fashioned butter beans, all served with a side of baked macaroni. Sandwiches on either French bread or a bun are stuffed with everything from hot sausage to fried oysters to meatballs to veal Parmesan. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


81 French Market Place, 525-9752

Tucked behind the French Market, this newcomer to the city's Mexican restaurant scene serves authentic recipes from the cookbook of chef Juan Contreras' family. Enchiladas and tamales come with the restaurant's special orange salsa. The chicken mole features a complex sauce of ground nuts, herbs and Mexican chocolate while the generous pork chop plate is covered in a powerful garlic cream sauce. Be sure to try the margaritas made with freshly juiced carrots. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $


1179 Annunciation St., 299-1179

The namesake Veal Eleven79 speaks to the menu's sensibilities at this upscale Italian restaurant on the edge of the Warehouse District. Tender veal is the focal point of the dish, and it is complemented with roasted peppers, asparagus and mozzarella. Classic pasta dishes include the simple puttanesca and pasta Acciuga with garlic, olive oil, basil, parsley, vermouth, anchovies and capers. There are always many traditional Italian veal dishes to choose from and a long list of daily specials. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$


601 Gallier St., 944-9272;

mThis café along the river levee turns out a wide variety of New Orleans favorites and Southern classics. Try calas rice cakes or a breakfast po-boy in the morning or come later in the day for fried chicken livers, seared duck breast or seafood po-boys. Check out the newly renovated second floor bar for cocktails before or after the meal. No reservations. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $


700 Bourbon St., 595-3172;

In the rollicking heart of Bourbon Street, the Embers features a menu of steaks, seafood and Italian dishes that keep new faces coming through the doors. As the good times roll on the balconies above, the kitchen turns out T-bones, strips and filets cooked to order. Fried Louisiana seafood, crawfish fettuccine and veal Parmesan add some variety. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sat.-Sun, dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


800 Tchoupitoulas St., 528-9393;

A brush with fame is one draw to the flagship restaurant of New Orleans' best-known celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, but the kitchen delivers on the superstar reputation. The menu showcases the eclectic and well-traveled tastes for which Lagasse is known, with entrée choices like andouille-crusted redfish with Creole meuniére sauce, grilled filet of beef with red onion marmalade, marrow butter and oxtail jus or duck schnitzel with roasted shallots. Reservations required. Lunch Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$


1300 St. Charles Ave., 525-4937; www.emerils.comClassic and contemporary merge in perfect harmony at this St. Charles Avenue institution where New Orleans dined for a century before chef Emeril Lagasse took the helm. Delmonico exudes the air of old-line tradition even in its updated and sophisticated incarnation. Start a dinner with the sweet-and-sour calamari or a classic Caesar salad prepared tableside. Entrée choices include a bevy of prime steaks, a 14-oz. veal chop and seafood entrees like lobster Bolognese. Desserts like Crpes Suzette and Baked Alaska are also finished tableside. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$


600 S. Peters St., 525-8544; www.ernstcafé.ne t

Established in 1902, Ernst Café has been feeding and watering downtowners for more than a century. Burgers, chicken and fried seafood are regular options along with a gumbo du jour and changing specials like ribs. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


701 Poydras St. (One Shell Square), 524-5115

The name says it all: hot coffee fast! Or maybe it doesn't, because there's a lot here besides coffee. Breakfast includes breakfast tacos, fresh baked muffins and cinnamon rolls. At lunch, the café becomes a sandwich shop with a variety of panini sandwiches like the Buffalo chicken, Philly panini and the club sandwich. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


407 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 893-8873

This bustling and fancifully decorated bistro serves new takes on Louisiana and French cuisine. The menu includes treats such as homemade patés, steamed mussels served in a spicy white wine-dill cream sauce with sweet potato fries, and marinated and pan-roasted center-cut pork chops served over toasted pecan-sweet potato hash with a balsamic port reduction. Reservations recommended for parties of five or more. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$